Monday, January 21, 2013

You've Been Weighed and You've Been Measured

You've been weighed and you've been measured. Forget the months of progress, never mind the friendships formed through hours of work and play: it all comes down to the number on that scale.

You've been weighed and you've been measured. The undergraduate interns report that you're over the limit and too much for this country. You laugh off the measurements and explain how elsewhere, you're considered normal and defend your figure as you see fit. The interns argue that no, you are indeed beyond the limits that their culture accepts and send you on your way to an expert for a confirmation. The expert, also looking like someone who weighs beyond the limits of his country but protected by his medical credentials, tells you to step onto a modern-day scale that will measure yourself down to every kilogram and centimeter you're worth. As you step off the scale, the doctor writes down some numbers, looks at you, and gives you the same opinion: you're too big for this country, your body is older than you're age, you're not healthy, you're extending beyond the scale their culture sets for female figures to be considered passable.

You've been weighed and you've been measured. Your colleagues and friends giggle behind your back , exclaiming how they were right all along: they knew you weren't as beautiful as you thought; they knew you weren't as fit as you defended your figure to be, and now they have a number and an expert opinion to prove it. No exceptions, no explanations: you are now simply a number that your community will remember, while the rest is history.

You've been weighed and you've been measured. You flee the scene and rush home to release everything. You cry because you're sad. You're angry because you've been assigned an ill-fit label. More importantly, you're angry because for a moment, you gave in to that label and let interns, experts, and colleagues doubt yourself in the presence of that label.

You've been weighed and you've been measured. Yet you know that you're not as ill-fit as the community deems you are. You know that in about a year, you will be able to get away from this cultural norm and return home. Sadly, you also know that while you get to leave, others will not be as fortunate and most likely face the same judgements as you, only for the rest of their lives.

You've been weighed and you've been measured. However, you do not have to give in. You do not have to listen. You do not have to accept that label. And someday, you will show others that they do not have to give in either.

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